One of the key ways to speed up your productivity is to reduce the time it takes you to open programs. Constant use of the mouse and Start menu, and even desktop shortcuts, takes-up valuable keyboard time not to mention clutter your workspace. There’s a lot to be said to launching programs directly from your keyboard and cleaning up your desktop/Start Menu.
If you’re a Mac user, then you’re already used to this but we poor Windows users are still in the dark ages in this respect. Quite why Microsoft have never implemented a simple launcher for programs is a mystery. However, help is at hand via programs such as Launchy which is surely one of the best options out there. Launchy runs quietly in the background and as soon as you need to open something, just enter the name of the program in the field provided and off you go. If meanwhile you’ve got so many shortcuts on your desktop that it’s taking you longer and longer to open programs, then you need some way of organising them more efficiently. FSL Launcher does exactly this by filing your shortcuts under tabs although it still means you have to use the mouse to launch them. Or another nice little solution is Kana Launcher which reduces your desktop shortcuts to icons which sit in your system tray and expand when you hover the mouse over them.
Is your Start Menu cluttered as your desktop? If so, you’ll be spending more time scrolling through looking for programs than you need to. LaunchOnFly basically works as a simplified start menu allowing you to customise it only with your most important apps and programs and access them from the system tray. Finally, if you need something that you can use between machines with the same programs installed, then Remora USB Launch is a quick launcher that you can take anywhere on a USB stick. Once plugged in, you don’t need to even touch the desktop or Start Menu anymore meaning your workspace is cleaner and your programs launched more quickly.